Dominick Rice, the chef who found a home in the kitchen at Slate after leaving the restaurant he moved to Central Florida to helm before it could open, has left Central Florida. According to Slate’s general manager, Shawn Tierney, Rice’s wife was offered a job in New York and the family has moved back there.
Rice, who had worked in Central Florida before going to New York, including in the kitchen at Luma on Park, was originally lured back to the area with the promise of leading the as-yet-to-open Boca on Park Avenue in Winter Park. However, due to conflicts with management, Rice separated from the company before Boca could open. He landed at Slate and opened the restaurant on Sand Lake Road almost one year ago. (Slate will celebrate its first anniversary on June 11.)
While Slate searches for a new chef (using the services of Restaurant Talent Scouts), Nick Oltarsh (left) has stepped in as a sort of guest chef. Oltarsh has worked for parent company Concentrics Restaurants in Atlanta as well as with Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group in New York. His resume includes Eleven Madison Park and Gramercy Tavern.
Tierney stressed that Rice’s departure, though unexpected, was understandable. “We’re a culture that is family first,” he said.